For seamstress Jen Nodora, fit is everything. Whether it’s a ball gown or a favorite blazer, good tailoring—a dart here, a hem adjustment there—can take practically any outfit from frumpy to fabulous.
“I’m really meticulous about understanding a person’s body and how to tailor clothes in a way that will show off their best features,” says Nodora, who mentored under a veteran seamstress before opening her own business, Jenodora Atelier, located in Together, a collective marketplace in midtown.
Clothing design has long captivated Nodora, a former boutique owner who has a degree in fashion merchandizing and marketing and teaches fashion design at Laguna Creek High School. “I’ve always had a knack for being creative when it comes to fashion,” she says.
Nodora explains that her work is different from someone who simply does repairs or alterations. “A repair is a repair, but my focus is to enhance the fit or the styling, to ‘make it work,’” as the “Project Runway” star Tim Gunn is famous for saying. “My mentor taught me how to use my measurements correctly and how to do things in sequence,” so that the final product not only looks good but is constructed correctly.
Nodora cut her teeth working on bridal gowns, where she learned achieving the perfect fit is essential. Like Cinderella’s tiny tailors, she works her stitching magic to ensure that every bride looks her best in her dream dress.
“In bridal, showing off backside is often what brides are after because that’s what you’re going to see when she’s standing at the altar,” explains Nodora. “Even if you don’t have an hourglass shape, that’s something we can create with the seam line.”
Besides brides, Nodora also works with fashion influencers, many of whom receive free garments that might not be quite the right size for them. She’s also the official seamstress for the Sacramento River Cats, where she’s responsible for changing out the nameplates on jerseys, making repairs and altering a uniform to a player’s liking.
But tailoring is worthwhile even if you’re not a fashion plate or a pro athlete. For starters, ill-fitting garments can pose an injury risk. “Pants or dresses that are too long are a trip hazard,” explains Nodora. “And it also looks sloppy. If you’re concerned about looking your best, it doesn’t hurt to spend $20 or whatever to have your pants hemmed and even the sleeves of your blazer hemmed. My goal is for things to look natural and for the clothing to lay where it’s supposed to lay.”